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World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Day 4: Hale Leads; Mueller, Madsen & Eslami Make Final

Josh Hale

Tuesday was Day 4 of the $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event, and 18 players returned to action. When play was all said and done, six contenders remained at the official WPT televised final table. Josh Hale leads the group with with 7.325 million in chips. Joining him are notables Greg Mueller, Ali Eslami and Jeff Madsen.

WPT Legends of Poker Final Table

SeatPlayerChips
1Max Steinberg1,020,000
2Jeff Madsen1,030,000
3Raouf Malek3,130,000
4Greg Mueller3,490,000
5Josh Hale7,325,000
6Ali Eslami2,900,000

The action kicked off around 1300 PDT (2100 BST) and within about a half an hour, the first player was eliminated as Joseph Cheong hit the rail in 18th place. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Cheong was all in during he first level of the day with the blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000 holding the {A-Hearts}{K-Clubs}. He was up against the {8-Diamonds}{8-Spades} of Jim Willerson. The board ran out {7-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} and Willerson's straight was the winner.

After Cheong was eliminated, Efren Abustan, Antonios Roungeris and Sam Barnhart hit the rail. The last of that group, Barnhart, fell to Hale during Level 24 with the blinds at 12,000/24,000/4,000. As reported, Barnhart got the {A-Clubs}{Q-Spades} in preflop against the {J-Hearts}{J-Clubs} for Hale. The flop, turn and river ran out {10-Clubs}{7-Spades}{6-Spades}{4-Clubs}{2-Hearts} and Barnhart was eliminated.

It was then time for Ramzi Srour, Alan Myerson, Cyrus Farzad and David Marshall to go. On the hand in which Marshall busted, Hale was against the one yielding the sword and gained a massive chip lead with the pot.

The blinds had increased to Level 25 at 15,000/30,000/5,000 when a flop of {J-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{8-Diamonds} fell in the middle of the felt. Hale checked and Marshall bet 160,000. Hale check-raised Marshall's bet to 450,000, but Marshall had other things in mind and moved all in for approximately two million. Hale was holding bottom set with {8-Spades}{8-Hearts} and quickly made the call. Marshall held {A-Clubs}{10-Spades}. Marshall didn't find the miracle, come-from-behind victory she was looking for as the turn and river completed the board with the {3-Spades} and {3-Diamonds}.

That pot vaulted Hale to a huge chip lead with nearly five million in chips and sent the tournament to the final table of 10. To give you an idea of how big Hale's lead was exactly, when the player redrew to one table of 10 and the stacks were counted, Hale's closest competitors were Eslami and Madsen, both with 1.48 million. Hale had about 3.5 million more than either one.

After the redraw, it took 12 hands before Art Alaniz fell in 10th place. Jesse Martin then exited in ninth, followed by Stephen Granerp in eighth place, and with seven players left, the official WPT final table bubble had arrived.

Graner went out on the 76th hand of the final table and the bubble lasted just three hands from there. Willerson, the man who had eliminated Cheong as the first elimination of the day, fell in seventh place. With the blinds at 30,000/60,000/10,000, Max Steinberg raised from under the gun to 150,000. Willerson reraised all in for 1.025 million and then Hale reshoved for roughly six million. Everyone folded back to Steinberg, and he also gave it up.

When the hands were tabled, Willerson showed {K-Spades}{K-Clubs}, but had unfortunately run into the {A-Hearts}{A-Spades} of Hale. The flop came down {7-Hearts}{3-Clubs}{2-Clubs} and Willerson was still behind. He was looking for a king or running clubs to stay alive, but the {Q-Spades} on the turn meant only a king would do it on the river. The dealer burned one last time before slapping the {3-Diamonds} on the river, which eliminated Willerson in seventh place. For his finish, he took home $60,400.

Hale will begin the final table with 7.325 million in chips and the button. He has over double Mueller's second-place stack and what looks to be a stranglehold on the tournament. Surely, he's in the best position to take the title, but each of the other five competitors want the $500,000 first-place prize just as badly. None of these players have earned a WPT title before and only Mueller and Eslami have made an official WPT final table before, placing fourth and sixth, respectively.

The final table is scheduled to have cards in the air at 1600 PDT (0000 BST) and you can be sure to find the complete recap of the action right here on PokerNews following the completion of play.

Photo and data courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.

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